Marvel Comics

MINI COMIC REVIEWS: Jessica Jones Vol. 1, Tales of Suspense: Hawkeye & the Winter Soldier and FABLES: Cubs in Toyland

Jessica Jones Vol. 1: Uncaged! by Brian Michael Bendis, Michael Gaydos and Matt Hollingsworth

Newly released from prison, Jessica Jones has got a lot of problems. Her latest client wants her to investigate her husband, who thinks he’s from another universe, and Jessica’s own husband, Luke Cage, wants to know where their daughter is. Jessica’s got a lot on her plate when a new threat appears, one that wants to destroy all heroes.

I liked how this book managed to keep Jessica Jones and her story relatively grounded, while still having cameos from other superheroes like Jessica Drew aka Spider-Woman and Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel. It made Jessica and her PI business a part of the wider superhero world, but it also shows how Jessica is constantly fighting against the title of “hero” and being a part of that world.

Jessica and Luke’s relationship is strained, but I did enjoy seeing it and I hope they can work things out. Jessica has given a lot up to do what she thinks is the right thing, and it’s meant keeping a lot of secrets from the few people she cares about.

The main story in Jessica Jones Vol. 1 was interesting but I wasn’t that scared or intrigued by the main villain as I couldn’t really get their motives. This might have been something

I liked the art style in Jessica Jones, and I loved the monotone colours, it really set the tone of the story. While I didn’t love this comic, it does enough to make me want to continue the series to see how Jessica can possibly sort her life out. 3/5.

Tales of Suspense: Hawkeye & the Winter Soldier by Matthew Rosenburg, Travel Foreman and Rachelle Rosenburg

The Black Widow is dead, but someone is killing her old enemies one by one. With a broke heart and a bloody trail to follow, Clint Barton aka Hawkeye is looking for answers. The only place he might get them is from another of Natasha’s ex-boyfriends, Bucky Barnes aka the Winter Solider. Will Clint and Bucky be able to trust each other enough to get to the truth, or is the truth deadly and out to get them?

I really enjoyed this. It’s a sequel to everything that happened with Secret Wars, Captain America apparently being an agent for Hydra and a lot of bad stuff happening, but you really didn’t need to know any of that to read and enjoy this comic. I only knew the concept of Secret Wars and haven’t read any myself, but this book does enough to give you all you need to then enjoy these characters and their interactions.

I’m a big Clint Barton fan and I really enjoyed how he and Bucky interacted. It was great how in the fist issue it’s told from Clint’s point of view and then the second issue is from Bucky’s, giving you an insight into both of their minds. They both don’t like each other but they have a common goal in finding out what’s going on with Natasha’s past. They have some really funny moments, and Clint is his idiot but capable self which I loved.

I liked the art style and the colours too for the most part, though some facial expressions were a bit overexaggerated for my taste. Tales of Suspense: Hawkeye & the Winter Soldier is a really fun, character-driven mystery and I’d love to read more about Clint and Bucky’s reluctant partnership. 4/5.

FABLES: Cubs in Toyland by Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha and Gene Ha

Theresa has a lousy toy boat that she doesn’t really like but it talks to her, encouraging her to run away to a land that she can be Queen of. Theresa travels to Toyland, where broken-down playthings dwell. Wooden, metal, plastic or stuffed, they’re all looking for a queen to fix their bodies and their realm. But these toys are broken in more ways than one. As Theresa’s family search for her, including her wild brother Dare, what will become of her when she discovers the truth about Toyland? And what will staying in that realm cost?

This graphic novel has been sitting on my shelves for years. A friend bought it for me for Christmas one year, but I had never gotten around to reading it as it’s Volume 18 in the Fables series and thought I wouldn’t be able to follow the story without reading the previous 17 volumes. Recently I did some googling and as everyone seemed to say this was a standalone volume I gave it a go.

I do agree it’s a standalone. I could follow the story and the various characters and their relationships easily enough, though there were the few odd moments that seemed to be tied to the larger story that I was unaware of.

The magic system and how all the characters are versions of the classic fairy tales is interesting. Cubs in Toyland was surprisingly sinister and dark at times – these weren’t the fluffy Disney-versions of the fairytales we all know. There were some bloody and violent moments too, which were even more disturbing as they featured young children.

Maybe it’s because I didn’t have as much of a connection to the characters as I hadn’t read the previous volumes, or maybe just the story wasn’t for me, but I did find Cubs in Toyland a bit of a slog to get through, especially the last 40 pages or so. I just didn’t really care to find out how the story would end or if Theresa would be OK. 2/5.

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MINI COMIC REVIEWS: Fun Home, Power Man and Iron Fist Vol. 1 and Filmish

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

This is a graphic novel memoir from Alison Bechdel (yes, she’s the woman who the Bechdel test is named after) about her childhood and adolescence living in her family’s Victorian home with her rather eccentric family. The memoir is mostly about Bechdel and her relationship with her father, which was both very distant and unusual, neither of them understanding one another until she came out as a lesbian, and learning from her mother that her father was a closeted homosexual.

Fun Home isn’t a linear story, with scenes being revisited when you have been given new information. It’s also both funny and farcical at types when Bechdel recounts her dysfunctional family life. I liked the moments when Bechdel looked back on different events with hindsight, you got to see what the teenage her thought at the time and her own ideas of what really happened now she’s older.

Fun Home features a lot of themes including sexuality, gender roles (Alison preferred to wear “men’s clothes” from a young age) suicide and emotional abuse. It’s an interesting and quick read but I never really felled compelled to keep reading. 3/5.

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MINI COMIC REVIEWS: Poe Dameron Vol. 1, Monstress Vol. 1 and A-Force Vol. 0

I couldn’t figure out what book I wanted to read recently (the great thing about the Read the World Project is I’ve got a lot of interesting options but it does sometimes feel like homework) so I went back to my comic shelves and read a few of my unread volumes. I have stuff to say about them but not a lot so here’s some mini reviews.

Poe Dameron Volume 1: Black Squadron by Charles Soule and Phil Noto

I really loved this comic! Poe Dameron stole my heart in The Force Awakens so when I heard he was going to have his own comic series I knew I had to read it. Black Squadron is a prequel to The Force Awakens and Poe, along with his friends in his squadron, are tasked by Leia Organa to find Lor San Tekka (the old guy Poe’s talking to at the start of The Force Awakens – boy I’ve said The Force Awakens a lot in this paragraph!).

So, the comic is all about the mission but also the downtime and you get to see Poe interact with his team which is great. It’s a funny comic, Poe’s charm shines right off the pages and it’s a nice way to learn more about the character. Plus, his relationship with BB-8 is brilliant, there’s a scene where the whole plan depends on BB-8 and some other droids and Poe has complete faith in them.

I also love the art style in Black Squadron. Phil Noto draws some gorgeous stuff (his Black Widow run is also fab) and I love the colours. It is a bit funny seeing Oscar Isaac’s face in a comic, but I soon got used to it. This is such a fun comic with good adversaries for Poe and his team and they kind of go on a heist at one which was wonderful (heists are my favourite thing ever) and I can’t wait till Volume 2 is released. 5/5.

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TOP 5 WEDNESDAY: Favourite Non-Written Novels

Top 5 Wednesday is a great feature created by GingerReadsLainey and hosted by ThoughtsonTomes. To find out more about Top 5 Wednesday and the upcoming topics, check out its Goodreads page. This week it’s all about your favourite non-traditional written books, so graphic novels, comics, manga, audiobooks and so on and so forth. So, this week I’m writing about my favourite graphic novels/trade paper backs (because I don’t live near a comic store so it’s easier to read the volumes) and by pure chance they are all from different publishers. In no particular order they are…

march-book-oneMarch by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell
This graphic novel trilogy was pretty much the first thing I read this year and it’s my new favourite thing ever. It’s all about the Civil Rights Movement in America and it’s told through John Lewis’s eyes, what protests he was involved in, who he knew and all the hardships and successes. It is such a powerful and important graphic novel series, the sort of thing everyone should read.

 

 

fiveghosts vol1Five Ghosts by Frank J. Barbiere and Chris Mooneyham
Five Ghosts has a very Indiana Jones feel, especially as the main character is an archaeologist who searches for weird mystical artefacts. Oh, and he also happens to have a stone stuck in his chest that gives him the power of five different ghosts. The thing about Five Ghosts I really love is the art style, it’s like those old pulp fiction stories and it can be creepy and dynamic, especially when the ghosts make an appearance.

 

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TOP TEN TUESDAY: Ten Reasons I Love Clint Barton

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature run by BrokeAndBookish each week – I’m thinking I might not take part every week but just see if a week takes my fancy. This week it’s a bit of a freebie, basically you can write about anything you love whether it’s a character, a book, an author, a fandom, a movie, ANTHING! So naturally I’m going to give you ten reasons why I love Clint Barton because I do love him a ridiculous amount.

clint barton110. He’s a loser.
OK so I say loser with affection. He’s a bit of a walking disaster and he hasn’t had the best life but he tries his best. Clint Barton loves his arrows, his dog and his friends but he doesn’t function well without coffee and his love for his arrows and their random tricks could possibly be seen as an unhealthy attachment.

 

aemh hawkeye9. His costume is often ridiculous.
So in the MCU it is pretty practical and isn’t ridiculously purple but in the comics and the Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes cartoon (great show, go watch it) he looks pretty stupid.

8. He downplays his intelligence.
Clint Barton counts on the fact you’ll think of him as just a loser who can shoot well, he is actually super smart but doesn’t like to big up the fact.

7. He is loyal
Clint Barton will stand by anyone of his friends or loved ones, even if that sometimes means he gets hurt in the process.

clint

6. He had a messed up childhood but doesn’t let it define him.
Clint Barton’s childhood was rough. His dad used to beat him, his older brother and his mother before he went and killed himself and his wife in a car accident. After being in an orphanage for a while Clint and his brother literally ran away to join the circus and then his brother abandoned him and Clint was trained and used by some bad men at the circus. It’s a miracle Clint Barton is as kind and caring as he is.

5. He is a dating disaster.
No matter what comics universe you’re reading Clint Barton is usually a dating disaster. That’s especially clear in the Matt Fraction run where he really doesn’t understand any of the women in his life.

4. He believes in people.
In the MCU, he is the reason that the Black Widow, Natasha Romanoff, is alive and now fighting for the good guys. He can read and understand people more than anyone gives him credit for, he always see’s the good in people. It’s basically cannon in the MCU that he adopts strays, first Natasha and then he practically adopts Wanda Maximoff.

3. He’s got a sarcastic sense of humour.
Clint Barton is sometimes what one might call “a little shit” and he knows it. He can be sarcastic and sassy and kind of rude but he does have a wicked sense of humour.

hawkeye2. He never misses.
The whole thing with Hawkeye is that he is the best and he never misses. He can shoot arrows and hit targets without even looking and if you think he’s missed, it probably means he meant to and he’s distracting you from something else.

1. He’s a hero.
The number one reason I love Clint Barton? He is a squishy, breakable human fighting with a weapon from the Palaeolithic era and he still fights for what is right. He is a hero and a valuable member of any team he’s on whether that’s SHILED, the Avengers or even teaming up with Deadpool. I will fight you if you say Clint Barton is useless!

clint barton

TOP TEN TUESDAY: My Top Ten OTPs

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature run by BrokeAndBookish each week – I’m thinking I might not take part every week but just see if a week takes my fancy. This week, as it’s the run up to Valentine’s Day it’s all about romance and couples in books. So I’ve decided to share my top ten favourite couples or OTPs (One True Pairings)!

Hermione and Ron – Harry Potter
I wanted these two to be together before I even knew what OTPs and shipping was. They are probably my oldest and possibly most influential OTP.

Clint Barton and Natasha Romanoff – Marvel Comics
Though Clint is kinda my fandom bicycle, my first choice for him will always be Natasha. They just work so well together and give me so many emotions.

Sabriel and Touchstone – The Old Kingdom Trilogy
These two are a team! They were friends before they ended up becoming a couple and they balance each other out.

June and Day – The Legend Trilogy
I love how the series ended for them. It might not be to everyone’s taste but I just love the possibilities it leaves for them. (more…)

Why I love… Secret Avengers

Secret Avengers is one of my favourite comics in the year or so I’ve been reading them. I first picked it up because I knew the majority of the characters thanks to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the Avengers: Earths Mightiest Heroes TV show so figured it was a pretty good place to start in the vast world of Marvel comics. Also it has Hawkeye in it and I’ll pick up anything that features Hawkeye.

Secret Avengers Spencer and RossI haven’t read Ed Brubaker’s or Rick Remender’s story arcs yet. Instead I started with Nick Spencer and Luke Ross’s run, because that’s the one that featured the most characters I already knew about. I did find their run a bit confusing as the main story was to do with memory wipes and you never knew entirely what was going on but I liked be art and the relationships between various characters – especially Nick Fury and Phil Coulson’s friendship.

That story arc came to an end in the middle of last year and then the series was taken over by Ales Kot and Michael Walsh and now Secret Avengers is definitely my favourite comic book series. (more…)